Blue Bottle Coffee is green with investment

Blue Bottle Coffee Cups

It’s nice work if you can get it.

Blue Bottle Coffee has just secured around $70m of funding.

It makes you wonder how much the high-brow California-based coffee chain is actually worth on the market, doesn’t it?

According to James Freeman, the founder and chief executive of Blue Bottle Coffee, believes that the company’s founding in the world of retail is vital to their ability to raise capital: “Retail is expensive but retail is rewarding if you get it right.”

It seems that they are doing it right, with Freeman insinuating that other third-wave coffee shops and chains are too engrossed in wholesale. But it’s not just being a coffee retailer that’s bringing them success; along with their successful presence in trendy, upmarket and blossoming neighbourhoods, they have a sizeable online footprint and a number of other external interests, such as the artisan Tartine Bakery.

This wave of investment comes with the company preparing for further expansion in 2016. Blue Bottle are set to open a store in the iconic Bradbury building in downtown Los Angeles (that’s one for Blade Runner fans) and they’re also in the midst of creating a new hub in Bushwick, a rapidly gentrifying area of Brooklyn that’s already becoming a hub for millennials, creative types and people with slightly fuzzy faces.

Blue Bottle has signed a lease on a 20,000-square-foot site and will move its current New York-based roaster (currently in Williamsburg) there next year.

“Putting it in Brooklyn feels right for the brand,” commented executive chairman, Bryan Meehan.

Big plans indeed and you could be forgiven for thinking that Blue Bottle is a big chain, especially with the $70m investment. But in the grand scheme of things they’re relatively small: Blue Bottle has fewer than twenty stores in the United States of America.

Not that it matters for now as they are definitely dreaming big.

“The third wave was about artisanal upstarts roasting their coffee in different ways and a super-obsessive attention to detail,” says Chad Robertson.

“The fourth wave is bringing that same thing to a much wide audience without compromising it.”

Will Blue Bottle succeed? They’ve certainly got a fair amount of cash behind them and that will help them a lot.

photo: Niall Kennedy (Flickr) – Used & cropped under Creative Commons

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